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McConaghy Boats 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Conwy Fife One Designs Season's First Race at Royal Anglesey Yacht Club

by Mike Hardie 5 May 11:38 BST 1 May 2021

After a long, long, wait of 19 months and following a few days of rigging and re rigging as we tried to remember how the boats went together (it took me 20 minutes to work out how my runners should be rigged!). A select band of nine Conwy Fife One Designs, all looking resplendent in shiny new paint work, came to the line for the first race of the 2021 season.

In the light North Easterly and with the last traces of snow still visible on the tops, our Race Officer, Chris Gofton decided on an 'X' course of B8, Aber, B10.

After much deliberation, the fleet decided to split into two, with five starting on the Anglesey side and four on the distance marks (aka, the Big Island side). The group starting on the Anglesey shore comprising, 5, Andy and Pete, 18, Alistair and a really nice man, 38, Mike and Steve, 15, Tak and David and 41, Family Yates (with an honourable mention for Patti, as babysitter). Didn't disappoint the watching throng at the start, as with surprisingly little shouting an over competitive boat or two, caused Gunner Bob, who nearly dropped his cupcake in the excitement, to fire the recall gun, but nobody returned (more on this later)

The first beat was the usual compromise between depth (I.E. how close dare one go to Mount Field) and tide, which was heading in the direction of Menai Bridge at a healthy rate. With 5, 15 and 18 in close company followed by 38 and 41, who having closed on the leaders then decided to apply the handbrake and sail out into the tide. Over on the Big Island side, it looked as if 42, Henry and Son. 39, Gavin and Annika, 30, Gwen and 'stronger than he looks' Jay with guest Pippa (new owner of 24, wanting to see if she liked Fife sailing) and 29, Trigger, Dan the (slightly bigger than last time) man and G, who had come to her senses and left her MSOD ashore, were having a Battle of their own.

As the two fleets came together at B8, it was the Anglesey side what won it (just), with 15 rounding first followed by 5, 42, 18, 38, 39, 30, with 41 and 29 fighting it out for the scraps.

We now faced the navigational challenge of finding Aber, with everyone trying to stay high, to avoid being carried low by the tide. 42 saw it first and was able to sail straight to the mark, whilst the rest of the fleet bore away to follow. At Aber, 42 rounded 1st, with 5 and 15 hot on her heels, 18 and 39 had a bit of a squabble regarding water and 38 followed them around. On the fetch to the Distance marks and subsequent run to B10, 15 took the lead and was closely followed by 42 and 5, who seeking clear air decide to tack off to head over the banks, 42 soon came to their senses and tacked back, but 5 carried on over the banks, never to be seen again!!

The order on the second beat was 15, who had by now established a clear lead, with 18 sailing high and 38 sailing a bit low, fighting it out for 2nd with a charging 30 seemingly coming from who knows where. 15 rounded B8 with a lead of maybe 30 seconds with 38 who had tacked early just managing to scrape around alongside 18, with the ever present 30 keeping them honest in 4th. 42 had recovered to 5th followed by 39, 29, 41 and 5.

This order prevailed until the finish, with 15, Tak and David taking a well deserved win, 18 crossed in 2nd to be greeted by total silence, which elevated 38 to 2nd and the jubilant 30, Gwen Jay and Pippa to 3rd.

So what did we learn from race 1? 15 is quick, 18 and 5 point like wind vanes (but I suspect we knew that already) 30, with a new crackly suit of sails is going to be a force to be reckoned with. Dan the slightly bigger man, is a better downwind helmsman than his dad, Robyn bakes excellent cupcakes (but not enough) Drinking outside the clubhouse in a North Easterly is a tad chilly and Pippa is now convinced of the joys of Fife sailing.

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